MitchelLake San Francisco Co-Hosts The 3rd Annual Startmate Pitch Dinner

By Phaedon Stough

The MitchelLake Group, Air New Zealand and Silicon Valley Bank partnered with InnovationBay to host the 3rd Annual Startmate Pitch Dinner at Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco last month.

Startmate is Australia’s leading tech accelerator, recently ranked by Naval Ravikant (co-founder of AngelList) and The Economist as one of the top five accelerators in the world alongside Y Combinator and Techstars. This year’s companies were:

• Lumific: Effortless photo organization, beautiful enhancements.
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HaystackHQ: Visual analytics for legal eDiscovery.
Inductly: Mobile staff induction platform.
Drawboard: PDF editing for construction engineering.
Flirtey: Parcel delivery by UAV to smartphones.
Foogi: Whatsapp for Calendars.
Composure: Autocomplete for email.
SportHold: The prediction game for sports.

The sold-out dinner was attended by a diverse mix of investors and established Australian tech entrepreneurs. The presentations were impressive and, as a sponsor, it was great to witness the significant improvement in the quality of pitches since our last dinner. The companies entered the Startmate program in January and watching their growth through the process is always remarkable. Imagine taking a journey into the unknown by removing yourself from a stable life and taking a huge amount of risk to follow your dream. After 3- months of building your company you board a plane to the other side of the world to pitch to a crowd of experts, some of who see 20+ pitches a week, just 72- hours after landing.

Currently, all 8 of the Startmate companies are in conversations with investors and we’ve confirmed that Lumific, Inductly and SportsHold have each gained entry into the 500 Startups accelerator program in San Francisco, which is accompanied by a $100k investment.

So, why do people turn up to hear early-stage Australian entrepreneur’s pitch, in what is arguably the most competitive market to raise capital on the planet? Maybe it’s because most have an engrained sense of humility; they listen, they want to learn and are passionate about making a difference. Or maybe it’s because they don’t believe their own bullshit, they don’t play politics and they truly appreciate being here, coming from what can only be called a “conservative” investment environment in Australia. They take on feedback, work their asses off and are smart and driven. Whatever it is, we can all take a lesson from these companies and make sure not to ever, ever start believing our own bullshit, to retain a sense of humility, focus and passion for getting great ideas to the market.

We wish them all the best for the journey ahead and would be happy to provide introductions for interested investors.